Ocean Alley Are Back And Better Than Ever With ‘Lonely Diamond’

Ocean Alley venture into new territory with their third album Lonely Diamond, pushing the boundaries into a new soundscape of Tarantino-esque Western blues, without of course forgetting their classic psychedelic-rock sound. 

Photo Credit: triple j

With their track ‘Confidence’ topping the Hottest 100 charts in 2019, four singles in the countdown, an ARIA nominated double platinum single, and sold-out world tours, it’s safe to say Ocean Alley had huge shoes to fill for their next musical venture. Their sophomore album Chiaroscuro saw the boys become household names and positioned them as one of Australia’s leading bands. After 18 months of writing at The Grove Studio with Callum Howell producing the album, Lonely Diamond is finally here and it does not disappoint.

Beginning with ‘Dahlia’, the band introduces a rich new sound to the album, stitching Western-accents into the tapestry of Lonely Diamond. This psych-rock prelude highlights the growth and sophistication of the band who have been explorative in their music-making through the use of new instruments and sounds. The melding together of warped-synths and bass guitar make this a mysterious track, sparking curiosity in the listener who definitely wants more.

‘Tombstone’ is dripping in funk-rock energy with strong lyricism that explores a world gone mad, drawing parallels to the current state of the globe. Reflective of a world stuck in chaos, frontman Baden Donegal nostalgically notes, “Cover your eyes, now the sky is burning”. The wobbled synths, organ, and guitar inject a layer of groove into the track and frame the vocals beautifully to create a truly spectacular tune. It’s easy to get carried away with this track. Its meditative effects make you forget all your troubles, and the music encourages you to chill-out while the world is burning around you.

‘Way Down’ is a rock ballad with soulful vocals that are accompanied by psychedelic guitar solos, giving the song a surf-rock feel. This dreamy track easily takes you back in time to a 70s rock ‘n’ roll gig, standing in the crowd as the band serenades you with their stunning vocals and trippy guitars. The classic Ocean Alley sound really comes forth in this number and grabs our attention as a stellar rock track with outstanding guitar features.

‘Infinity’ slows down the pace of the album, bringing emotion and soul to Lonely Diamond. The track feels like a dreamy trip through space and time with Donegal narrating, “We start to fly higher into the atmosphere”. The long strung-out vocals, whirling organs, and blues-infused guitars lull us into a trance and transport us to better days. This hazy blues-inspired track is wonderfully woven together, creating atmospheric, blissful sounds that put this song in high esteem as one of the albums leading tracks.

‘Stained Glass’ brings back the blues with strong guitar and organ presence under soothing vocals. The track is very reminiscent of surf-rock and summertime blues, laced with that quintessential Ocean Alley psych-rock sound. The track also has notes of reggae and jazz nestled among the soulful vocals and instrumentals. ‘Stained Glass’ is composed beautifully and is yet another remarkable song on the tracklist of Lonely Diamond. 

The title track ‘Lonely Diamond’ begins sorrowful and melancholic with vocals draped in summertime sadness. As the guitar and drums pick up tempo we edge further away from despair to feeling A-OK once again, “suddenly everything’s alright now I’ve fallen in love with the sunshine”. ‘Lonely Diamond’ is about warmth just as much as it is about solitude. With each chorus, we believe we’re closer to finding refuge as Donegal’s lyrics assure us “suddenly everything’s all right, don’t try to tell me otherwise”. Each strum of the guitar guides us further through a landscape of desert solitude where blues meet soft rock’n’roll.

‘Hot Chicken’ is full of funk with driving guitars and strong vocals that bring an element of groove to the track. This song is immersed in psychedelic-rock with lyrics that place an edge of danger around the song, “and I’ll be the razor if you wanna play, and I know it’s dangerous, well honey what can I say?” The masterful guitar work and fierce percussion make this track a leading number in the album. ‘Hot Chicken’ is bold, wild, and dangerous, making you want to rebel and get up to no good. This is a strong song that shows Ocean Alley is evolving and becoming more masterful with their music-making.

Photo Credit: Music Feeds

‘Puesta de Sol’ and ‘Luna’ are straight out of a Tarantino film soundtrack, exuding Western-country energy that transport you to a Saloon-bar somewhere in a cactus-filled desert. Throughout Lonely Diamond we can hear influences of Western-style genres bleed through, with Guitarist Mitch Galbraith telling triple j that Tarantino’s films were an inspiration for some of their music-making, “We love that sort of music, Tarantino film instrumental kind of stuff.”

Although they experiment with new sounds on this album, Ocean Alley still manages to incorporate their classic psych-rock blueprint in-amongst any song they produce. The band continues to amaze us with their adaptability when it comes to experimenting with new sounds. 

Lonely Diamond is a musical masterpiece proving the boys in Ocean Alley are definitely NOT one-hit wonders. From country-Western influences to jazz and the blues, Ocean Alley has proven themselves as master music makers who never keep things exactly the same or mundane. This fresh new energy brought to Lonely Diamond highlights the skill and finesse of Ocean Alley who are quickly cementing themselves as rock ‘n’ roll superstars.

Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Alchemy Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!